Creativity's Workshop

Taming and Training Your Creativity to Write Abundantly


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Creative Actions: Research Something a Bit Crazy for Your Novel

Recently I was working on a short story (it’s not going to make it into my up-coming collection, but perhaps the one after that), when I hit a snag.

My character’s mother had been through chemotherapy and lost her hair. She was wearing a wig, which was all well and good until it came to bed time. As she reached up to take her wig off, I realised I had no idea how wigs stayed on a person’s head or the correct method for removing them.

I needed to do some research.

I will quickly point out that I did not immediately open my web browser and start searching (although I was naturally tempted). I finished my writing session, skipping over the part where I didn’t yet have concrete details. I knew I’d become distracted when I started researching, so I put my writing first.

Once I was free to research, I went to YouTube and searched for videos on wigs. What I found was this gem of a woman.

Now, my purpose was to find out how to remove a wig, which I did within five minutes. But once I got started I couldn’t stop watching her videos.

Why?

Not procrastination. Not because I’m addicted to the internet or to YouTube (although I may be slightly addicted).

I watched because I was fascinated by this woman’s positivity. I loved her confidence in being able to just whip her wig off in front of the camera without any embarrassment. I loved the details of the wigs and the craftsmanship that goes into their design.

Before that day I had very little interest in wigs. In the space of an hour I had a whole new appreciation for them and I had been exposed to a truly inspirational person.

As with all research, I ended up with more information than I needed. But as a writer I’m like a bower bird, collecting all these experiences, facts and personalities for use somewhere down the road.

Was it a waste of time? Not at all. Confident that my writing had been done for the day, I was able to allow my Creativity the room to explore a fascinating subject thereby exposing her to a fresh supply of creative fodder. Who knows where this will lead.

So what about you? What piece of information do you need to research this week? Comment below and tell us.

Try to pick something slightly crazy – a subject with intriguing possibilities and follow it to see where it leads. When you’re done, come back and let us know how it went.


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3 Pinterest Boards Designed to Inspire Your Writing

I’ve had a pretty rubbish week healthwise, so I’m not yet ready to release my new e-book. It’s still in the works and will be appearing soon. In the meantime I’ve got plenty of other stuff to share.

Pinterest has taken the world by storm and it’s an addictive way to spend your time online.

As writers, we try not to allow too many distractions keep us from the page, but there are days (like I’ve had this week) when the page is not our friend.

We need some fresh inspiration to keep us and our Creativity going. Pinterest offers plenty of opportunities if you know what you’re looking for.

Many people use Pinterest to find great writing quotes, but that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Here are three Pinterest boards I’ve put together to get you writing again.

Pinterest-Visual-Writing-PromptsVisual Writing Prompts

We’re all familiar with writing prompts and how much fun they are to use. However, writing prompts come in many different forms.

Images make great writing prompts. They provide us with an immediate mental picture to work with. They can also evoke memories and emotional responses. Sounds like fantastic writing fodder, doesn’t it?

What should you look for in a visual writing prompt? The simple answer is: Anything that captures your curiosity. Anything that makes your Creativity sit up and take an interest in proceedings.

Wanna have a try? I’ve created a Visual Writing Prompts board to get you started.

Pinterest-World-BuildingWorld Building

Location and setting are very important when writing. But sometimes we find ourselves short of ideas. It can be difficult to describe a place’s unique elements when you don’t have some kind of image in front of you.

Pinterest provides a plethora of images from all over the globe for your viewing pleasure. There’s everything from basic bedrooms and kitchens to landscapes alien enough for even the most hardcore sci-fi writers.

If you’re stuck on where to set your scene, have a look at my World Building board for some ideas.

Pinterest-Caption-ThisCaption Images

If a story is too much for you to contemplate right now, why not aim for just a sentence or two?

One of my favourite games is ‘Caption This’ where you’re given an image and you have to come up with a caption which puts the image into words, or provides a back story to what you see. As a writer, it’s a fantastic creative warm up.

Of course, not everyone will appreciate you captioning their images, so I suggest you either create your own board especially for the game or pop over to my Caption This… board and join in the fun.

I’m sure there are heaps of other ways you can use Pinterest to inspire your writing. What’s you’re favourite way? Let us know in the comments with a link to your boards!


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Take Your Writing Seriously – Make a Poster

A poster with the words "Caution! Painting With Words"

Poster of my own creation, with photograph from Microsoft Clip Art

At the moment I’m living in a busy household with lots of distractions and interruptions. My writing time is suffering.

I decided I needed to send everyone, especially myself, a clear message. I needed a poster to stick on my door to show when I’m writing – to ward off those continuing interruptions (from family and from myself).

A poster with the text "#amwriting therefore #ambusy"

Another poster of my own creation with a photograph from Microsoft Clip Art

So for the past few days I’ve been experimenting with all sorts of designs. I’ve added my favourites to this post.

They’re all fun, but sometimes the simplest is still the best.

A street sign with the words "Writer At Work!"

All elements created by moi.

Having a poster serves two purposes:

  1. It clearly shows others when you’ve set aside time to write. If they continue to interrupt, you can point out your sign and say you’ll be with them after your writing time is up.
  2. Most importantly, it encourages you to take your writing time seriously.

Why not take a couple of minutes right now to make your own poster or sign declaring yourself a writer?

If you’re too busy for that, you can click on one of the above images to get a bigger version and use it instead. (Sorry, I don’t have high-resolution versions for print so they may come out a little fuzzy.)

What have you done to take yourself seriously as a writer? Let us know in the comments.


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Give a Gift to a Fellow Writer

A woman reading a thank you card. Kind messages are the best gift of all.

Image Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

I’m keeping this post short to give you a little chunk of time to do the following:

  1. Think of someone whose writing you have enjoyed recently. It could be a novel, a blog post, an article or even a tweet.
  2. Find their contact details. (A quick internet search should do the trick.)
  3. Write them a note and tell them you enjoyed their work.

A simple little message can make someone’s day.

I’m writing to Helen Simonson to tell her how much I enjoyed her novel Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.

Leave a comment below telling us who you’re writing to and why.